This is going to take a different tone than prior incarnations. Instead of listing a variety of items the Oakland Raiders should keep and discard from Week 3, it’s high time the team address something that’s festering.
Matter At Hand
Let me set this up:
The Raiders stagnant offense is difficult to watch. Turns out, stagnant is the perfect word to describe the Raiders’ attack: “having no current or flow and often having an unpleasant smell as a consequence.”
In the last 17 drives, the Raiders account for: 10 punts, 3 interceptions, 1 missed field goal, 1 turnover on downs, 1 end of half and 1 touchdown.
That would definitely leave a lingering and putrid odor of manure, now wouldn’t it?
There’s a severe lack of creativity (it’s totally not devoid, see the pitch to running back Josh Jacobs to get a much-needed first down and the flea flicker from Jacobs to quarterback Derek Carr to wide receiver JJ Nelson as examples), innovation and variety. Carr is doing little to shed the Checkdown Charlie moniker while Gruden’s play calling is labeled as archaic.
We’re to the point where the same old song and dance occurs at post-game and mid-week pressers:
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will tell you: “I only do what my coaches tell me.”
Head coach Gruden will tell you: “It’s not like we didn’t call the deep pass.”
Then, you’re stuck in perpetual finger pointing known as passive aggressiveness and you aren’t quite sure who to believe.
Sure, both Gruden and Carr are quick to raise their hand and volunteer themselves as tribute when asked who is to blame for the impotent offense. Taking ownership is an admirable thing. But we’re always left with a burning and unanswered question. The one that’s festering like an open, untreated wound: Who will remedy this tiresome situation?
Gruden, Carr, Mike Mayock?
Gruden is quickly becoming a broken record praising the opposition for their play and fortitude as well as waxing poetic about the opponent’s home crowd and hostile environment aftre losses.
Then you have Carr.
“We moved the ball, right? We definitely moved the ball,” Carr said after Sunday’s loss to Minnesota. “I’d say we didn’t finish drives. So that’s the point right there.”
Leave it to Associated Press sportswriter and stat/anecdote ace Josh Dubow to have the perfect quip:
You got a head coach seemingly conceding his team, his roster, his scheme are not match in today’s NFL. And you’ve got a quarterback who is seemingly beleaguered so much, he’s spouting delusional BS on the podium.
Other than that, it’s fine and dandy in Raider Land, no?
OK, I lied, there is one other Keep/Discard I wanted to address:
The Raiders must keep giving tight end Darren Waller the ball. He’s the team’s most dynamic weapon on offense and he’s shown in three games teams have a difficult time defending him.
In turn, the Raiders need to discard not getting him the ball from the first snap to last. Waller was finally targeted by Carr at the 9:51 mark of the 2nd quarter. By the way, the Raiders fell behind 21-0 at that point.
Wait, are we seeing another pattern here?
Gruden says the team will do whatever it takes to bring Khalil Mack back, compared Amari Cooper to a young Tim Brown and wanted to get him the ball more, and said Waller would be a focal point of the Raiders attack… are we dealing with a snake oil salesman at head coach?
That’s a topic for another piece.